Manaia Kindergarten - 09/09/2015

1 Evaluation of Manaia Kindergarten

How well placed is Manaia Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Manaia Kindergarten provides three-and-a-half and six hour sessions for up to 30 children between two and five years of age. It services the surrounding coastal, farming and semi-rural communities located within the Whangarei Heads area. The kindergarten’s philosophy is based on providing a welcoming environment that promotes respectful relationships and values bicultural practices.

Since ERO’s 2012 review, session hours have been extended to meet the needs of the community. The kindergarten has also introduced a weekly nature-based outdoor session, where the oldest children play, explore and learn in a natural environment in the local community. Teachers are currently participating in professional learning to enhance how they encourage and support children’s leadership.

Positive features identified in ERO’s 2012 report have been maintained. These include providing a programme that is driven by children’s interests and promoting reciprocal partnerships with families and whānau.

The outdoor environment and resources have been significantly upgraded. Teachers have adapted self-review systems to support them to make useful improvements to the programme and teaching practices.

The kindergarten operates as part of the Northland Kindergarten Association. The Association provides governance, leadership and policy frameworks to meet operational management expectations. Association personnel assist teachers to maintain good standards of health, safety and to improve the quality of educational programmes. The Associations’ Pūmanawatanga Plan reflects a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support for the development of bicultural practices across the organisation.

This review was part of a cluster of 10 kindergarten reviews in the Northland Kindergarten Association.

The Review Findings

A sense of whanaungatanga (family) and manaakitanga (caring) provide a strong foundation for children’s wellbeing and belonging in the kindergarten. Children settle quickly into the programme and develop positive relationships with each other. They are confident, independent explorers who share their knowledge and ideas. Children show initiative, ask questions and make planned choices about their play. They participate in rich conversations about their learning.

Children have many opportunities to take on leadership roles. As kaiawhina (helpers) they are empowered to lead parts of the daily programme. They work with others to make decisions that will benefit the group. Children demonstrate an understanding of themselves as kaitiaki (nature guardians) who have a responsibility to care for the environment. A respect for people and animals, knowledge about their local environment and care for natural resources is highly evident in children’s play and conversations.

Teachers warmly welcome children and their families. They listen carefully to children and interact respectfully with them. Teachers support children to take responsibility for and manage their social interactions with others. They are committed to increasing their knowledge of tikanga and use of te reo Māori in the programme.

The programme is guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and reflects the concept of ako. Children, whānau and teachers share information and ideas, learn alongside each other and work together to develop the curriculum. Systems to assess and plan for individual children’s learning are evident. Teachers’ clearly analyse the learning that happens in children’s play. They could now make more regular links between children’s learning records to show their progress over time.

The teaching team is continuing to develop shared understandings about effective teaching and team approaches. Professional learning, including induction and mentoring programmes, contributes to improved teacher practices. Appraisal systems celebrate teachers’ strengths and are well used to reflect on progress against individual goals. The kindergarten’s long-term and annual goals support ongoing improvement. A clear vision for the future is promoted and enacted by teachers.

The Northland Kindergarten Association provides effective governance for kindergartens. Its
long-term direction focuses on making decisions to improve learning outcomes for children. Positive strategies include:

  • good support and guidance by Association personnel to improve the quality of kindergarten programmes and teaching practice, particularly the development of bicultural practices and integration of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) into programmes in meaningful ways for children
  • effective teacher appraisal and professional learning and development that contributes to improved teacher skills, knowledge and practice, especially in supporting children’s social competence, and strengthening the quality of assessment documentation
  • significant investment in property and environment upgrades to promote children’s exploration and investigation
  • a focus on distributed leadership practices amongst kindergarten teaching teams to utilise teachers’ individual and collective strengths.

Association leaders are considering ways to enhance teacher appraisal processes and systems for self review. ERO recommends that the Association strengthens systems to ensure that all health and safety requirements are being implemented. 

Key Next Steps

To build on existing good practices teachers agree they could:

  • review teaching practices and provision for those children who remain at the kindergarten on nature programme days
  • strengthen self review by improving the quality of evaluation practices
  • continue to develop a bicultural curriculum and make connections with the local Māori community to enhance the programme for children
  • continue to work with local schools to review how well children are supported to transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Manaia Kindergarten completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)
  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)
  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Manaia Kindergarten will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

9 September 2015 

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning. 

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 


Parua Bay, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       24
Boys      17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

9 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2012

Education Review

February 2009

Education Review

March 2006

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau. 

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.